The Diversity Leadership Council at Gustavus Adolphus College admits that it — with the help of other social-justice groups — planted fake racist flyers on campus “to educate” people about racism.
The flyers, according to a photo obtained by Campus Reform, stated:
TO ALL WHITE AMERICANS
IT IS YOUR CIVIC DUTY
TO REPORT ANY AND ALL ILLEGAL ALIENS
TO U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT
THEY ARE CRIMINALS
AMERICA IS A WHITE NATION
Obviously, these flyers caused a huge uproar among the school’s students and alumni — only for Dean of Students Jones VanHecke to later announce that they were “part of a series of educational ‘invisible theater’ events taking place this week that have been planned by I Am We Are theater troupe, the Diversity Leadership Team, and the Bystander Intervention Committee.”
On Monday, the Diversity Leadership Council published a Facebook post explaining that it had posted the fake flyers to “promote, preserve, and protect on-campus diversity” and “to help educate our peers and campus community about issues of bias, and the importance of being an active bystander.”
“We want to help put an end to bias-related incidents that happen on our campus, social media, and in our communities by forcing individuals to have dialogues about forms of hate and bias,” the post stated.
Hey, kids? If you want to “help put an end to bias-related incidents that happen on our campus,” how about you address those incidents instead of distracting from them by making up a fake one? Seriously — just what is bringing awareness to a fake issue going to solve? It’s not going to help solve that issue, because — and sorry if I’m blowing your mind here — a problem has to actually exist in order for you to be able to solve it.
These groups’ little stunt wasn’t merely stupid; it also has the potential to create long-term harm.
Now, I am not sure exactly what kinds of “bias-related incidents” are happening on that campus, but I do know that there being people on campus who felt so strongly that only white people should live in America that they were running around posting “AMERICA IS A WHITE NATION” flyers to help achieve that would be a serious one indeed. Presumably, this fake incident is on a completely different level from anything that is actually happening on that campus, which means that any “dialogues” related to it are on a completely different level, too. No doubt, these flyers must have left a lot of people feeling freaked out and threatened based on a false issue, all for the sake of having a discussion about something that didn’t even exist — and that’s about as disgusting as it gets.
These groups’ little stunt wasn’t merely stupid; it also has the potential to create long-term harm. For one, it likely has hurt the school’s reputation. There are almost certainly people who heard only the news about the flyers, and not that the flyers turned out to be a hoax.
What’s more, it may actually hinder these groups’ aim of achieving racial justice on campus. Going forward, any actual bias incidents may be looked at more skeptically. People’s knee-jerk response to future incidents might not be to become outraged, but to remember how the last incident turned out to be a hoax. Think about it: What if someone had, “to educate” the campus about rape culture and sexual assault, posted a bunch of fake flyers around campus saying that rape is okay? Do you think that that would make people want to talk about rape culture more seriously? Would any “dialogue” that might have happened because of those signs actually help a victim of assault in the future? The answer to that is an obvious “no.” The truth is, there is no better way to encourage people to dismiss your cause than to do something in the name of it that they can rightfully dismiss.